Core value: “Me vs We” — an introduction

In the last lesson, we introduced the concept of core values. We also looked at why understanding your own core values is the first step in developing good intercultural competence — the ability to connect well and prevent or overcome misunderstandings with anyone from any culture.

One of the most fundamental value differences is whether we are oriented more towards the success and well-being of the group or towards the success and well-being of the individual. This difference is often referred to as “me vs we” or “individual vs communal” orientation.

A country that is at the far end of the individual “me” side of the scale is the United States. American culture celebrates and even pushes the success of the individual, almost at any cost.

A country that is at the far end of the communal “we” side of the scale is China. Chinese culture places great value on harmony and on working for the benefit of the group — family, community, team, employer, nation.

These are two profoundly different ways of perceiving the world and the part that each person — especially our individual selves — plays in it.

As you can imagine, and you might even have experienced, this profound difference can and does cause misunderstandings, even between people or groups (companies, nations) that want to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

The first step to overcoming this profound value difference is to understand your own core value:

– Is your own individual success and well-being more important to you?

– Or do you care much more strongly about the success and well-being of the groups that you belong to?

Individual vs Communal Orientation: Self-Test

Here’s a short  “Me vs We” self-test you can do:

  1. You have a great idea for a new project, so you suggest it in the weekly team meeting. A few days later you learn that your manager has got approval for the project, but he did not give you credit for the idea. How do you feel?
    1. What the heck! That’s not fair!
    2. Well… I suppose we are a team…
    3. Excellent! Our team will gain recognition for this valuable project.
  2. You overhear your colleague at the desk next to you give some wrong information to a client on the telephone. What do you do?
    1. Interrupt her phone call to correct her error.
    2. After she finishes the phone call, tell her about the error.
    3. Stay silent, or find a way to communicate her error to her without saying it directly.
  3. A stranger asks you for directions while you are walking down the street. You know the place well and it’s only about 300 metres away. Do you:
    1. Say you don’t know, sorry, and keep walking.
    2. Explain verbally how to get there.
    3. Guide them to the place yourself.

a = 0 points, b = 1 point, c = 2 points

Now add up your points and see where you fall on the scale below. Obviously this is a very short test, but it will give you an idea of whether your core value is oriented more towards the individual or the community.

In the following lesson we’ll look at how this value difference affects how people respond to conflict, even very mild conflict.

Tags:

Related Posts:

Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Want to improve your cross-cultural relationships weekly — for FREE?YES!
+

Let's connect

Talk with us and tell us what your needs and goals are. After the call, we will email you an outline of a program customized for your needs, background and goals. There is no obligation or commitment. 

Fill in your information below and we will contact you to arrange a good time for a call. We look forward to serving you!

We value your trust and we will keep your information safe. We will never sell your personal data.

Congratulations!

You’ve taken a step towards connecting across cultures for success!

Within 24 hours you will receive an email with a personal message from our founder along with the mini e-book 3 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL CROSS-CULTURAL BUSINESS NEGOTIATION.

If you have not heard from us within 24 hours, please email us at contact@beccacademy.com. But first, please check your SPAM folder! (If you use Gmail, remember to check all the tabs: Updates, Promotions, Forums).

We look forward to helping you achieve success!

3 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL CROSS-CULTURAL BUSINESS NEGOTIATION

Get our free ebook with Business English + Cultural Self-Awareness that you can use in job interviews, salary negotiations, sales calls, business deals — every negotiation with someone from a different culture. 

Enter your name and email below and you will receive the PDF ebook plus a personal message from our founder.

We value your trust and we will keep your information safe. We will never sell your personal data.

Thank you.

Thank you for contacting us! We will email you within 24 hours to arrange a time to talk about your needs and goals and how we could help you.

If you have not heard from us within 24 hours, please email us at contact@beccacademy.com. But first, please check your SPAM folder! (If you use Gmail, remember to check all the tabs: Updates, Promotions, Forums).

We look forward to serving you.